Lockheed critiques spark CSAR-X shoot-out

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Lockheed Martin started it.

The defense contractor teamed with AgustaWestland to offer the US101 for the $11 billion CSAR-X contract award went negative on Thursday, dishing to reporters about the key “weaknesses” facing both of their competitors.

The Sikorsky HH-92 proposal is “high-risk”, according to Lockheed, because they’ve decided late in the bidding process to switch to a 5-blade rotor. That decision means Sikorsky must extend the tail boom and enlarge the fuel sponsons, which also increases risk, Lockheed says.


I asked Sikorsky for a response.

“As the GAO reported in its decision upholding Sikorsky’s first protest, the US Air Force rated our aircraft performance risk as ‘low’ while our competitor received a ‘high’ risk rating. Accordingly, these misinformed statements by our competitor smack of desperation,” Sikorsky said.

Lockheed found similar fault with the Boeing HH-47 proposal. Boeing will cut into a major load-bearing structure by widening the cabin door to 48-inches, Lockheed says. This is the kind of design change that introduces a variety of unknown-unknowns into the development phase, even for an aircraft based on a 47-year-old airframe, according to Lockheed.


Boeing rebuts:

“The airframe modification to incorporate the larger cabin door does not fundamentally require a change in the airframe structural arrangement or the use of advanced materials. The airframe loads, load distribution and the material allowables are all known, making the risk low.”

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8 Responses to Lockheed critiques spark CSAR-X shoot-out

  1. Royce 4 August, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    The sad thing is that the greatest technical risk won’t come with the aircraft itself but rather with dealing with all the stuff the USAF will want crammed into it. It won’t surprise me if we see delays and cost overruns no matter which helicopter they choose.

  2. Stephen Trimble 4 August, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    And I thought I was cynical!

    I see what you mean. The airframe is really the easy part, and the three manufacturers all know how to deal with structural issues. Integrating the systems is another matter, and definitely the real high-risk area for all of the bidders, if past performance is to be believed.

  3. EG 4 August, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    The military has never met a program it couldn’t gold plate.
    If you want to have fun…go back in history and look what the Air Force did to the A-3 to get the B-66. Nothing has changed since then.

    I think Sikorsky should offer the H-53K just to muddy up the waters a little more.

    Maybe Eurocopter could team up with Mil and offer a Russian design reengined by Turbomeca and built in Alabama.

  4. Stephen Trimble 4 August, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Great idea!!! Let’s start a blog movement: EADS NA/Kamov KA-50 for CSAR-X!!!

  5. Royce 4 August, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    I suggest a last-minute entry of the new, “All American US-26 SuperCSAR,” which would be based on the Mil Mi-26. It could be “the world’s largest, most advanced CSAR Helicopter” and could rescue up to 150 downed pilots at one time

  6. rapier 4 August, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    ….. All American US-26 SuperCSAR, which would be based on the Mil Mi-26 ……

    Noooooo, Royce, ….. TOO SMALL !!!!!
    I think instead about a US-12 SuperSuperSuperCSAR ….. a revamped variant of the mighty Mil Mi-12 Homer ….. :-D

  7. rapier 4 August, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    And ….. about Sikorsky HH-92 “low risk” rating ….. why not ask the Canadians …………….. ?

  8. EG 5 August, 2008 at 5:54 pm #

    I love this blog, people know what they’re talking about and have a sense of humor.

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